Alphabetical Index of Yen Press Manga Reviews

Love at Fourteen Volumes 1-2

Love at Fourteen is a poetic, quiet series about first love by Fuka Mizutani. Kanata (she) and Kazuki (he) are mature for their 14 years, taller than the others but set apart by the other kids looking up to them. They feel constrained by others’ expectations, and they don’t feel as old as others treat them. So they bond together, in similar circumstances, and begin falling in love. It’s the moments that make this manga so involving. Whether or not […]

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So, I Can’t Play H Volume 1

So, I Can’t Play H is a manga that feels familiar from the start. It began as a series of light novels (11 in all) written by Pan Tachibana and illustrated by Yoshiaki Katsurai that then were adapted into five manga volumes, drawn by Sho Okagiri, before becoming an anime series. This volume opens with a bunch of confusing mythology about a realm of Grim Reapers and their training and contracts and rules, but it’s really about a regular guy, […]

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Ani-Imo Volume 1

Ani-Imo by Haruko Kurumatani has one of those “only in manga” premises. Be sure to keep it away from parents or busybodies, because it plays with implications of incest as comedy. Youta is a caring boy. He fixes breakfast for his family, and he particularly takes care of his twin sister Hikaru (so much so that rumors swirl around their high school regarding his “sister complex” and how freaky the twins are). She’s quiet and reserved, but he finds her […]

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Emma Volume 1

I’m very glad Yen Press brought back Kaoru Mori’s maid manga Emma. The period piece combines a cross-class romance (gentleman and maid) with beautifully illustrated details of daily life, set during a time, 19th century England, that appeals to many readers, given the elaborate dinner parties and social rituals. When the series was originally released by CMX, I covered most of the volumes, so I won’t talk in detail about the plot, but I did want to note how lovely […]

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Secret Volume 1

In a departure from previous series Doubt and Judge by Yoshiki Tonogai, this book doesn’t have students locked in a booby-trapped warehouse and told to kill each other one by one. Instead, they’re in their classrooms, which makes the whole thing creepier, by keeping them in the setting of daily life. A small group of students have been in counseling because they were the only survivors of a bus crash that killed many of their classmates. On the last day […]

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Judge Volume 6

The series by Yoshiki Tonogai about kids forced to murder each other concludes in this volume, and that’s pretty much all you need to know, that here’s where the story ends. I wrote about the first couple volumes of Judge, but I quit talking about — and paying attention to — the intervening books, because it was just about spinning out the suspense, which wasn’t very effective. I’m trying to recall if the three twists in this volume were foreshadowed […]

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Barakamon Volume 1

I had the wrong impression of Barakamon. I’d heard it compared once too often to Yotsuba&!, which I adore, but I suspect that’s just because there’s a smart-alec kid co-starring. The tone is very different. In my opinion, a better comparison to Barakamon would be Green Acres: high-powered city guy moves to the country and learns the virtue of relationships with a variety of rural character types. Handa is a talented calligrapher who’s been overcome by the stress of competitions […]

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A Bride’s Story Volume 6

It’s an anniversary for Amir and Karluk, the couple married in the first volume of A Bride’s Story. He’s only 12 years old, and he’s proud to still be growing taller. That leads to the need for new clothes, which drives the couple to a family council, as they struggle with how much he wants to be treated like a man and how much he still needs to be taken care of. The couple’s feelings clash, but at the root, […]

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